Anson Mount said before Saturday’s “Hell on Wheels” that his favorite scene ever with Christopher Heyerdahl was in Saturday’s episode … and after watching it, we definitely understand why that is.
While there were many fantastic scenes throughout this installment, seeing these two actors in the showdown at Fort Smith was something else. Cullen Bohannon finally figured out how to work his way out of this de facto prison, and that was by getting the “bishop” so riled up in his religion that he would forget about the fact that these people all think him to be something else. He exposed his true nature, and in doing so managed to find a way to free both himself and his new family. (Brief note: How great is Mackenzie Porter? She’s done a great job taking over this role in a tiny span of time.)
Unfortunately for the Naomi, Cullen, and their child, they are heading to a very different Cheyenne than the one they remember. The arrival of John Campbell from the east, under orders from General Grant, changes this town from the get-go. He’s already proving that he can impose law and order, and that starts with hanging a man for the traditional Wild West act of shooting a card cheater. In a way, Campbell’s brought with him the fun police … even if we understand that the rules of the Old West are ridiculous. It’s still part of the appeal of this genre.
The stories this week were ultimately straightforward, but we honestly did not mind to much just getting the reactions of Eva, Mickey, and more to the new regime. Plus, the sight of Cullen arriving back near the railroad was something we loved to behold … even if Cullen had to get the terrible news about Elam’s “disappearance.” This was a heck of an episode, and probably our favorite one of “Hell on Wheels” in some time. It raised complications, changed the game, and had us beyond excited for the road ahead. Grade: A.
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